India is seeing a digital transformation. This is happening at breakneck pace owing to the technological advancements in mobile gadgets and the proliferation of wireless data networks. Ease of access to the internet has led to a significant increase in the digital
consumer base, pervading even through older age groups, rural areas and smaller cities. The prevalence of digital platforms in the automotive
industry is far stronger. As per a 2016 consumer survey, three out of four car buyers carry out research online prior to purchase and 43 percent have already decided on the brand before they make their first visit to a dealership
Contrasting Digital Journeys
55 percent of all digital journeys are short, where the consumer spends a total of 25 minutes over seven weeks online. The focus of research in such journeys is more on revalidating. As against this, 24 percent of journeys are involved the consumer spends 2 hours over 15 weeks. These consumers do plenty of research online including that on variants.
Evolving Expectations of Customers
The consumer outlook towards the car buying process is constantly advancing. Increased exposure to novel features in other industries is causing a parallel evolution in the customer expectation of both online and offline car purchase channels. They are looking for greater
ease, increased customisation and a considerably seamless experience. Currently, a majority of the new car
purchasers are not satisfied with the amount of time spent during the various stages of buying a new car. Think Micro-Markets, Not Cities Significant differences in digital engagement levels exist
across micro-markets within a city. Contrasting behaviour is noticeable even amidst areas with the same affluence levels in a city, driven by differences in the social cultural profile of residents in the area. This calls for a geo-local marketing approach across micro-markets within a city.
New Car Models Need to Win Digitally
New car models see a disproportionately large share in digital traffic, although they account for a significantly lower percentage of market share. Similarly, new car segments such as utility vehicles command very high
share in online traffic. This highlights the importance of digital as a channel to connect with consumers for such cars. These themes are discussed in more depth in the report.
In this context, there is a need for OEMs to remodel their strategies. There are six key implications for them. First, they need to enhance their digital platforms, keeping in mind the growing digital influence and the evolving customer expectations. Online activities like price
comparisons and deals and discounts, which are offered by third-party sites, need to be incorporated in a customised manner. They also need to provide seamless access on mobile phones.